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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. without objection. mr. grassley: madam president, am i in order to speak about the nomination of tony west? the presiding officer: the senator is in order.
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mr. grassley: today the senate will vote on the nomination of tony west to be associate attorney general. although i will be supporting mr. west's nomination, i have some concerns about his record that i want to share with my colleagues. this is a very important position. the associate attorney general
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talking about this quid pro quo, most often emphasizing tom perez's involvement with it, not too much about mr. west. the quid pro quo involved the department agreeing to decline two false claims cases pending against the city of st. paul. remember, those two false claims cases were estimated, if
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successful -- and they were pretty good cases -- to bring about $200 million back into the federal treasury. now, in exchange for this quid pro quo, the city of st. paul would agree to drop the case pending before the supreme court. as i've said, i've spoken at length on the st. paul quid pro quo as it relates to the nomination of mr. perez to be secretary of labor. as my colleagues know, i've been a major supporter of whistle-blowers and their protection under the laws of this country because whistle-blowers are a very important source of information knowing if laws are not being abided by or money is being misspent. and, of course, that's why i authored the 1986 amendments to the false claims act to protect whistle-blowers but also giving a source -- a resource for
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getting money back into the federal treasury if it's misspent. those amendments, meaning the false claims act amendments, revitalized the law by empowering individual whistle-blowers to come forward and to file suits on behalf of the federal government to recover taxpayer dollars lost to fraud. since those amendments were enacted, over $40 billion has been recovered, and under mr. west's tenure as head of the civil division, that department has been successfully utilizing the tiewls of whistle-blowers' information and, of course, they aren't shy about saying so. as far as i'm concerned, that's their right to do it and the more publicity we can do recovering money under the false
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claims act, the more we may encourage more whistle-blowers to come forth and recover even more money. the false claims act is within the purview of the civil division. now, mr. west oversaw that division at this time, not the civil rights division. however, in the quid pro quo, the evidence uncovered by my investigation suggests that mr. west allowed tom perez to take control of the civil division in order to cut this deal that saved mr. perez's favored legal theory referred to as the desperate impact theory. as i've discussed previously, mr. perez was concerned that the supreme court was going to strike down this theory as unconstitutional. in doing so, the department undercut a viable -- viable
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case against st. paul, and in the process left the whistle-blower who filed the suit to fight the city on behalf of the american taxpayers all alone, left him out there twisting in the wind. and this is not how i expect the department to treat good-faith whistle-blowers. they're patriotic people, they're people that probably destroyed their opportunity of livelihood because they know something's wrong and they want to report it, just like patriotic people ought to do. in fact, i believe it is contrary to the assurances that mr. west gave me during his confirmation hearing in 2009 when he indicated he would protect whistle-blowers and vigorously enforce the false claims act, because let nobody nobody -- let everybody understand that there is not a
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single individual subject to senate confirmation in the justice department that comes before my -- comes before the committee or to my office for interview that i don't ask them their view of the false claims act, because i don't want somebody in the justice department that doesn't want vigorous enforcement and use of the false claims act. as i have said, ultimately, mr. perez was the architect of this ill-advised quid pro quo that left fred newell, the good-faith whistle-blower, hanging out to dry. in my view, mr. perez bears the most responsibility in this whole matter. he was the one who was manipulating the process, and he did so at times behind mr. west's back. nonetheless, mr. west was the individual in charge of the civil division, and as head of that division, the decision
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regarding whether or not to join those false claims cases fell to mr. west. it is troubling to me that mr. perez who at the time was head of the civil rights division would be the one who was so clearly orchestrating the deal and acting as de facto head of civil division and of course mr. west let him get away with it. so that concerns me as it relates to mr. west's nomination to be the third highest ranking official at the department of justice. we need individuals serving in these positions who are willing to stand up to those who are saying -- who are trying to advance a political agenda, and that's exactly what mr. perez was trying to advance. in this instance at least, it doesn't appear that mr. west stood up to mr. perez as he
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should have. on the contrary, the record appears to indicate mr. west allowed mr. perez to orchestrate this deal on behalf of the civil division, even though mr. perez was head of the civil rights division. however, notwithstanding these concerns, i'm willing to give mr. west the benefit of the doubt and vote for his nomination. part of the reason i'm willing to do so is because the civil division under mr. west's leadership has established a respectable record in utilizing the tools available under the false claims act amendments that i got passed in 1986 and that have brought back into the treasury just under $40 billion. and as an instance of mr. west's use of the false claims act, the civil division secured
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approximately $4.9 billion coming back into the federal treasury, just in the year -- one year of 2012. and taken together over the last several years, the civil division has secured a total of approximately $13.3 billion. obviously, this is not an insignificant amount of coming back of taxpayer dollars, and although the department's recovery of this money on the one hand does not recuse their behavior in the quid pro quo matter, i do believe mr. west deserves a certain degree of credit for his leadership in this area. so as i said, i will support the nomination. i expect that he will be confirmed. it's my sincere hope that he will perform his job well and not let somebody undercut him as he let mr. perez undercut him in regard to the quid pro quo and the false claims cases involving st. paul, minnesota. but i want him to know and
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everybody else to know that i plan to conduct aggressive oversight of the department to ensure that the mistakes that occurred as part of the quid pro quo that potentially cost the taxpayers nearly $200 million lost to fraud are not repeated. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. a senator: i would ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: i ask that all time be yielded back. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. tester: i would ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their votes? if not, the yeas are 98, the nays are 1, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table, the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate will resume legislative session. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 1243, which the clerk will
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report. the clerk: calendar number 99, s. 1243, a bill making appropriations for the departments of transportation and housing and urban development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2014, and for other purposes. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: madam president, i call for regular order with respect to amendment number 1760 to modify it with the changes that are at the desk. the presiding officer: the amendment is so modified. mrs. murray: thank you, madam president. and i understand my colleague is here to offer an amendment and i
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would yield to him at this time. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: madam president, i ask consent to call up amendment number 1783. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: it was my understanding that the senator from connecticut was going to call up an amendment. there was an objection? the presiding officer: the senator is correct. mrs. murray: if -- if the chair would hold for just a moment.
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i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. murphy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: mr. president, again i'd ask unanimous consent -- the presiding officer: the senate's in a quorum call. mr. murphy: i ask we dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you, mr. president. again, i ask to call up amendment number 1783 and ask it be made pending. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from con corporation mr. murphy, propose an amendment numbered 1783. mr. murphy: mr. president, i ask we dispense with the reading of the amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: thank you,
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mr. president. mr. president, there's a broad consensus amongst the people of this country that when we spend dollars through the federal treasury, when we spend taxpayer dollars, that they should be used to fund american jobs. in fact, that's been a law on the books since the early part of this century, the buy-america act for a long time has required that when we buy things, whether it be through the military or through the department of transportation, that we buy things from american contractors. makes more sense toda -- today than ever before because as we struggle to try to get our economy back up and running, one of the sectors that is hurting more than others is the construction sector, and so every time that we violate the buy america provisions of our law, we lose the opportunity to try to alleviate great stress that is currently upon our
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construction industry. thankfully, the d.o.t. has been one of the best agencies, actually, when it comes to making sure that american-made material goes into construction projects. the $41 billion that the provide administration receives in this bill to be spent on roads and bridges, it's an important engine of job growth throughout the country. i have to say they generally do a great good job as opposed to some other agencies, the department of defense at the top of the list, in making sure that those dollars go to american companies. but there are circumstances in which the buy-american provisions are waived. there are a number of ways that you can waive those provisions, but it's important for us to have full transparency and disclosure when the department of transportation and when fhwa is considering awarding a major project funded by american taxpayers to a foreign company. you see, when the buy-american
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statute is waived the requirement that american material be used is null and void. and so what this bill says is that when the fhwa provides public notice that they are considering waiving the buy-america clause for a particular project, that they include in that public notice a consideration of the impact on american jobs. it's worth knowing whether a waiver is simply going to result in the loss of ten american jobs or the loss of 500 american jobs, and this amendment very simply says that when a waiver to the buy-america law is pending, that we should know from the department of transportation and from fhwa how many american jobs are at risk. that gives us the opportunity to weigh in and try to make sure that that waiver is not granted that frankly gives american companies a little bit better information with which to use
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when they are trying to make the case that they can actually do the work that may be being considered for a foreign company. we all know what's happening to jobs in the building trades. some parts of the country, unemployment is hitting 20% when it comes to carpenters and operating engineers and plumbers and sheet metal workers. i want to applaud the d.o.t. on being i think one of the models when it comes to trying to make sure that the taxpayer dollars are kept here at home, but this amendment would just make sure that in those cases where the d.o.t. is sending work overseas, that we get a chance to understand what the real impact is going to be. i will say this before yielding the floor, mr. president. we have a lot of work to do when it comes to tightening our buy-america laws. we're here talking about the d.o.t., but the real problem is in another agency that we will
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hopefully have a chance to talk about later on the senate floor, and that's the department of defense, but 70% of federal purchasing comes through the department of defense, and i will tell you that they have been expe tighting the offshoring of defense work at a rate that should make every single senator on this floor shudder. and so this is an important amendment that i hope will get burn support. i thank senator collins for allowing it to become pending on the floor, and i think it is just the beginning of a lot of work that we have to do when it comes to enforcing a very simple principle, that when our constituents send their hard-earned tax dollars to washington, d.c., and they get used to buy things or to build things for the united states government, that we hire u.s. s&p 500, american workers to do the job. i yield the floor, mr. president.
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i'm sorry, mr. president. let me first ask for unanimous consent that there be a party for debate only until 2:15 today. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. murphy: with that, i would yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. chambliss: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with and i speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. chambliss: i come to express my concerns with the department of transportation and housing and urban development bill. i believe my home state of georgia needs a strong bill that recognizes the importance of ongoing infrastructure, housing
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and development projects. as some of my colleagues have already noted, this bill includes many taxpayer protection provisions, specifically that extravagant conferences will be curtailed, an issue many of our constituents as well as members of congress were shocked to learn about. rather, my concern is with the overall spending level and the decision of the majority to write this and other appropriation bills to levels that exceed the budget control act. in 2011, congress passed the budget control act which placed caps on what the federal government could spend. i voted against that bill and in august of 2011 in large part because over the years that i have served in both the house and the senate there have been too many times when i have seen both bodies together, come together to bust spending caps. and for us to have no checks and balances on the ability of
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either the house or the senate to bust the spending caps that were set in 2011, i thought was just wrong because they were going to get busted. well, guess what, here we are and this is not the first time since 2011. we've had a vote in the senate that will ultimately bust those spending caps. the thud appropriations bills the senate is now debating completely disregards the 2011 budget control act. thud is the first of 12 appropriation bills that the senate will consider on the floor, so my question to my colleagues is, what kind of present are we set -- precedent are we setting for the remaining spending bills? all americans deserve a congress to pass appropriation bills we simply cannot afford to pass bills that spend more than our government can fund. this senate bill alone costs $5 billion more than than was allowed under the budget control act.
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how can we cure our fiscal woes if we cannot take our own medicine of fiscal restraint? we should focus our efforts on legislation that can pass both chambers of congress and be signed into law by the president, not create another political nightmare that negatively affects the country as well as our constituencies. right now, the senate can correct this mistake and allocate spending in a manner that is consistent with the law that we passed. shortly, my colleague from pennsylvania, senator pat toomey, will come to the floor and offer a motion that would require the appropriations committee to change the spending levels of this bill to comply with the budget control act or, in other words, to dplie comply with -- comply with current law. i urge my colleagues to follow senator toomey's lead and vote to recommit. we should vote nor a bill that adheres to the guidelines set by the budget control act and provides the needed appropriation for the department
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transportation, housing and urban development as well as the independent agencies. while i would like to see the senate pass the transportation, housing and urban development appropriation bill, the bill before us now does more harm than it does good. mr. president, i yield the floor and i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator:
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mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. a senator: mr. president, i ask that the proceedings of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: mr. president, i rise today to talk about the very real effects that sequestration is having on -- i'm going to speak about the people of virginia, but i'm sure, as the presiding officer, is equally true about folks in new mexico and, for that matter, all across the country. i'd like to remind folks that
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sequestration was set up so that it would be so stupid, so draconian, so outside the realm of possibility, that no rational people would ever let it happen. well, we're actually seeing now that we didn't pass that bar. sequestration is happening. it's actually stupidity on steroids. earlier this week, a group of us heard from dr. francis collins, the head of the n.i.h. the n.i.h., as we all know, is america's premier health research institution. dr. collins told us of the real world impacts of sequester cuts. he gave heartbreaking examples of life-saving medical research that's being disrupted, perhaps irrevokably, due to budget cuts and employee furloughs. two days ago, i had the
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opportunity to chair a budget committee hearing about the impact of sequestration on our nation's security. we heard policymakers talk about what sequestration was doing to military readiness. what drove home the point to me was a virginia business owner, mark clete, who had actually been named as small business man of the year back in 2011, who said that this start and stop environment where you didn't have any predictability of whether your funding was coming through was completely wrecking his business model, and it already had caused him to bench over a third of his 60 employees. now, mr. president, in the last two weeks alone since sequestration has started, i have received over 500 letters, emails, phone calls from virginians who are bearing the
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very real brunt of our failure to do our job. real consequences on real people with potentially devastating impacts on a dedicated, experienced federal work force. this is no way to run a business. it is no way to run an enterprise as large as the federal government. one from virginia beach, hampton roads and virginia beach was a concentrated area of naval installations and air force and army installations. this woman from west virginia beach whose husband is a retired navy officer is now furloughed once a week for the next 11 weeks. she writes that her husband came home with a letter about the furlough, that he felt his moral character and the oath he had taken to protect his nation would not allow him to write, so she said she was going to write.
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she says it pains me to see what he has worked so hard to defend you're working so hard to tear down. the country is deserving of good relationship, and right now congress is not providing it. another navy employee from the fredricksburg area writes three years of pay freezes followed by a furlough seriously makes me question if this is where i want to spend the rest of my career. think about the hours and dollars that we as a public have invested in getting these individuals trained to provide these services, now saying they are not sure this is where they want to work. a woman down in the portsmouth naval hospital writes both my husband and i are d.o.d. employees and will be taking a 20% pay cut for 11 weeks. points out that they may be able to get by, but a lot of her co-workers just don't know how
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they're going to make ends meet. a federal employee from woodbridge, virginia, down the road in prince william county, says -- quote -- "i want all my elected officials to know how disappointed i am that they have abandoned and let down by our representatives in congress." he continues by saying -- "i have three children in college and i am paying for college loans of two children who have graduated. 11 furlough days don't sound like much, but over the year, the loss of nearly $4,000 in income is crucial. if i ran my own budget like this, i would have to fire myself. this employee i don't think is going to get a sequestration discount on repaying those student loans. a west point graduate and iraq war veteran says -- quote -- "the failure of congress in having a tangible -- is having a tangible and real negative impact on people's lives and livelihood. i do not see leadership, i do not see accountability and i do not see selfless service that
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rises above partisan politics." and finally, a former army officer who lives in springfield, virginia, says -- quote -- "the morale in our agency is so poor that most workers who used to work 10 or 11 hours a day are now planning to work their exact eight hours only." so that 20% cut one day a week is actually cutting productivity in a much greater percentage. mr. president, i could stand here the rest of the afternoon and go through letter after letter that have the same theme. what strikes me about these letters -- and i'm sure again the presiding officer is hearing from new mexicans, we're hearing from virginians -- is none of these letters are talking about the red team or the blue team. none of these letters are saying this is all the democrats' fault or the republicans' fault. none of these letters are saying this is the house problem or the
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senate's got the solution. they are saying regardless of party, regardless of whether you are in the house or the senate, your job is to get this fixed. it is appropriately targeted at the entire congress, and while our dismal performance recently may be great fodder for late night comedians, i think having a 90%-plus disapproval rating candidly undermines americans' basic faith in our democratic institutions. so let me try to respond to these virginians. here is what i have done and will continue to do. i will keep fighting for the significant federal work force that lives in the commonwealth of virginia. in the four and a half years i have been in the senate, i have come down on a regular basis to celebrate the great work of individual federal employees.
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i will continue to come down to the floor and appeal to my colleagues and provide real examples of the real impacts that this funny name sequestration is actually having on people's livelihoods. on a personal basis, i am giving up 20% of my salary through the end of this budget year. i am donating it to the federal employee education and assistance fund which provides emergency loans as well as childcare assistance, scholarship and other financial help for the families of federal and postal workers. i will continue to work with any colleague, democrat, republican, independent, libertarian, vegetarian, it doesn't matter, who is willing to try to get a yes to replace sequestration in a more rational way and get our debt and deficit under control. i'm proud of the fact that the three and a half years that i
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have been -- now i guess four and a half years i have been here, there's no issue i have tried to work harder on. i was proud of the fact that i was one of the founders of the so-called gang of six that built upon the very good work in the simpson-bowles plan. and let me remind my colleagues, anyone who thinks there is a solution to this problem that is not going to involve raising additional revenues and starting to reform our entitlement programs either can't read a balance sheet or hasn't grasped the magnitude of this issue. so i will continue to advocate for a balanced bipartisan blueprint that will work on these issues. raise the revenues not to grow the size of government but to pay our bills. make sure that the promise of medicare and medicaid and social security are here not just forted's generation but for future generations in a way that's responsible. we're soon coming up, and i know
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many of my colleagues and the american public probably got to budget fatigue after the ins of the -- ends of the fiscal cliffs and super committees and debt ceilings, thought we were maybe past a little bit of that. well, the economy is recovering and the size of the deficit is decreasing, but our challenge is still in front of us. we are soon set to come to the end of this fiscal year which will present these issues again at the end of september. the debt ceiling will be not far after that. i have heard that there is only slightly more than 20 legislative days left before the new fiscal year starts. it is incumbent upon us to recognize, to reflect the voices of these virginians who again don't call out red team, blue team, don't call outhouse or senate, but say to us in congress, implore us to do our
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jobs. i know we have been joined by my colleague, the senator from maryland. i think we could debate whether maryland or virginia is more ground zero for the negative impacts of sequestration, but whether it's an n.i.h. worker in bethesda or civilian navy employee in woodbridge, the stories are the same. this is not fair, it is not right. none of these folks are getting a 20% discount on daycare, rent, or as the one person said we are repaying student loans. it is incumbent upon us to get this problem fixed and it is going to require the kind of hard work on revenues and entitlement reform that so many have tried to avoid. otherwise, we will not see an america that stays as competitive as it needs to be and we will disrespect literally hundreds of thousands if not millions of workers who work directly or indirectly protecting our nation and trying
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to provide the services that are so essential to our people. let's not do any more harm and let's not waste any more time. thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i have not been on the floor during the entire remarks of my friend from virginia, but i did hear part of it and i first want to thank you for your extraordinary leadership on behalf of the people of virginia and on behalf of a sensible way to resolve our budget problems. you have been a leader in building bridges and recognize how devastating sequestration is, not just to the federal workers who live in your state, not just to the people that live in your state, but to our entire country. this is dangerous sequestration, and you really have been a
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leader in pointing that out. you have also made it very clear that sequestration is mindless across-the-board cuts that we have a responsibility to make priority decisions, and when we use sequestration we're on automatic pilot, but on automatic pilot, they can't carry out its current mission. they can't safely navigate the air. that's where we are. and i really applaud you for taking on this issue of saying to our friends on both sides of the aisle let's listen to each other. we know we're divided here. we have different views. but we need to sit down, work together and come up with a sensible way to balance the federal budget, to give the predictability that's necessary and to eliminate these sequestration cuts. it's particularly painful right now when we have so many marylanders, so many virginians, so many people in this country
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that are receiving paychecks with a 20% cut, and yet the work they have to do is the same. mr. warner: will the senator yield for a question? mr. cardin: i will be glad to. mr. warner: i just want to thank the senator from maryland for his comments. let me say that no senator has served with more distinction, both here in the senate and prior to that in the house in being a constant advocate for federal employees and being willing to step up to protect them and rebut what we too often hear from some of our colleagues that across the board without distinction demean and denigrate the extraordinary good work that so many countless unnamed federal employees do. so i want to thank the senator from maryland for that work. i want to thank him for his willingness and continued willingness in conversations with me and others to talk about, hey, we all have to stretch a little ways to get
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things done, because i know he is hearing the same thing in maryland. people are not distinguishing red shirt, blue shirt. they want us to get this job done. i again thank the senator for his good work and look forward to working with him and folks on both sides of the aisle to resolve this issue. thank you, mr. president. mr. cardin: i thank my colleague. for his comments. i understand that you already mentioned the fact of what's happening at the national institutes of health and the fact that because of these sequestration cuts, the number of grants that will be given out this year, contracts with young scientists to do research are going to be cut by the hundreds. now, we don't know which one of these researchers would have come up with an advancement on a major breakthrough, but there would have been some, and they're going to be denied. they may get discouraged, the people who would have received these grants, and they may go into other fields. we may lose them forever as far
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as scientific researchers. they may go to other professions, they may go to other countries, but we know that they're not doing the work that they are trained to do, and we know that they had a proposal that went through the most difficult vetting process and was selected for funding and should have been funded but is not being funded because of these sequestration cuts. that we know. that much we know for sure. we also know that it's not just that researcher who's been hurt by the sequestration cuts, it's the businesses that depend upon the basic research, many of which are small companies, in order to build upon that research to create the products that go into the marketplace and create the jobs that are necessary for our economy. there's a direct loss to the economy of our country as a result of these sequestration cuts. so it's time that we move
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forward and resolve the problems of our country. let me, if i might, i know and i agree with my friend from virginia that we got to find a way on both sides of the aisle to come together. but i must point out that it's been extremely difficult, particularly with the climate in the other body. in the current issue of "new yorking magazines" jonathan kates writes" the chaos and dysfunction has set in so deeply that washington now lurches from crisis to crisis and the once all government procedures are transformed to white knuckle dramas. the republican party has spent 30 years currying ever more deeply into ideological extremism, but one of the novel developments of the obama years is the embrace of procedural extremism. the republican fringe has
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evolved from being politically shrewd proponents to a gang of sabo tours who -- saboteurs who would rather stop government from functioning at all." this brinksmanship is preventing the economic recovery from gaining steam, preventing us from addressing urgent problems and punishing all americans, not just federal workers. if we come together on behalf of the american people, we can replace sequestration with a measure and balanced approach to deficit reduction. we can agree on a path forward to fiscal solvency that spreads the burden equitably. we can begin to solve our problems instead of compounding them. but i will tell you what we cannot do, we cannot balance the budget on the backs of federal workers. it is infeasible and it isn't fair. increasingly federal workers are asked to do more with less. according to the office of management and budget, the size of the civilian work force
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relative to the country's population has declined dramatically over the last several decades. notwithstanding occasional upticks due to military conflicts or the taking of the census. in the 1950's and 1960's, there were an average 92 americans for every federal worker. in the 1980's and 1990's there were 106 americans for every federal worker. by 2011, the ratio had increased to 145 americans for every federal worker. since the 1950's and 1960's, the u.s. population has increased by 76%, and the private-sector work force has risen by 133%. but the size of the federal work force has risen by just 11%. relative to the private sector, the federal work force is less than half the size it was back in the 1950's and 1960's.
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the picture is emerges is one of a work force whose size has significantly shrunk compared to the size of the u.s. population it serves, the private-sector work force and the magnitude of federal expenditures. i previously talked about the adverse effect of sequestration on many of our domestic agencies. i've talked a little bit today about the circumstances at n.i.h., i've talked about the food and drug administration, the social security administration, and other domestic federal agencies. some let me focus, madam president, if i might for the next few minutes on the impacts of sequestration on a particular group of federal workers, the department of defense civilian employees who part of the total force team providing invaluable support to our men and women in uniform serving in harm's way. these proud individuals have in the past few weeks suffered unnecessary hardship due to
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sequestration. the primary priority of our government is to the defense of our nation and sequestration adversely affects the civilian men and women who help provide that defense. d.o.d. civilians serve our nation by advancing scientific research, providing logical support to our service elisabeth mebs while forward deployed and ensuring institutional stability within d.o.d. offices as service members rotate to different duty stations. recently some of the media have promoted the idea that the $85 billion sequestration cut triggered on march 1 aren't causing drastic effects. cnn called the cuts not as bad as advertised and the post reported that -- "the washington post" reported they're less scary than reredicted. toll he tell that to the 4 thousand in maryland and another 103,000 in the capital region who are being furloughed, losing up to 25% of weekly pay
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for the rest of the fiscal year. earlier this month the defense department began furloughing 652,000 civilian employees nationwide, forcing them to take up to 11 unpaid days off through september. this is in this digs to the furloughs at the environmental protection agency and the internal revenue service. these furloughs disrupt our national and economic security and put hundreds of thousands of federal workers and their families in financial hardship. our government cannot continue to provide for the defense of our nation by 345eu7btaining such a harmful policy towards our civilian workers. i have visited installations maryland and i've heard about and seen the impacts of furloughs of defense department and other federal employees and the impact it will have on their ability to carry out their mission. these cuts and furloughs are affecting the ability of the
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agency to carry out their legal mission. for instance, at indian head naval service warfare center in charles county, about 97% of the total government civilian work force are being forced to take leave without pay one day per week. this puts base police, fire protection, safety programs, air operations, air quality programs, and facilities at risk. at walter reed national military medical center furloughs will hit 2,400 civilians, 94% of the civilian staff. walter reed is the country's top facility for wounded combat soldiers. its department of oarpdz and rehabilitation is the largest within the department of defense. its seven clinics including one for traumatic brain injuries, soldiers needing expert care might have to wait longer for
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appointments or being forced -- forced to go to nonmilitary medical facilities which will drive up costs and compromise the quality of care. i can't tell you how many of us have taken the floor to talk about our commitment to make sure our service people get -- our warriors, wounded warriors get the type of treatment they deserve. many of us have visited the walter reed military center and with pride with the services they're being provided. well, sequestration is hurting us to meet the mission that we promised to the heroes who have served our nation. and have now come home and expect that health care to be available to them. at fort dietrick, 4,900 defense department civilians will be furloughed. they support a multigovernment community that conducts biomedical research and development and medical materiel management that includes everything from advanced vaccines for soldiers on the
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battlefield and in military hospitals. that mission is at risk. there is no other place that can carry out the type of advanced labwork that's done at fort dreet trick. aberdeen proving grounds, harford county's large' employer and home to 11 commands and more than 80 agencies has approximately 11,500 d.o.d. civilian employees subject to furlough. about half of a.p.g.'s work force. before sequestration, a.p.g. reported contributing more than $400 million in payroll and $500 billion in contract annually. i can assure you that community will be affected and many businesses will be affected as well as the mission at a.p.g. itself. and then very close to here, madam president, just a few miles away at fort meade, maryland's largest employer, sequestration is affecting the
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entire region. most of its 27,000 d.o.d. civilian employees face furloughs. these furloughs have all sorts of unintended consequences. a furloughed worker may have trouble making his or her mortgage or car payments, reduced creditworthiness may affect a worker's ability to maintain or obtain a security clearance. is that how we want to treat people who helped defend us from terrorists? budget cuts compounded by sequestration will lead to a brain drain in the defense department with some of the best and brightest professionals in the federal government deciding to speak opportunities elsewhere. the federal work force is better educated, older and more experienced on average than its private-sector counterparts. a significant number of federal workers provide their services to the american people at discount. they could command higher salaries in the private sector but they choose to work for the federal government because they are patriots and they believe in public service.
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the world is still a dangerous place. and such uncertainty times we can not afford to let political dysfunction get in the way of ensuring for our national security. sequestration is harming our national security readiness. sequestration isn't just about compromising the ability of federal workers to carry out their critical missions on behalf of all americans, and it isn't just hurting federal workers and their families economically. private-sector businesses and communities across the country are being hurt by the reduced purchasing power of furloughed federal workers. federal workers are like everyone else. they support the local businesses in their communities, auto dealers, restaurants, dry cleaners, you name it. they all suffer when federal employees suffer. the local economy suffer and the recovery becomes that much harder and slower. we need to stop demonizing and punishing federal workers. we need to replace sequestration with a rational budget.
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one of the greatest attributes of the american character is prag matter tix. unlike what some other federal employees are actually doing here in congress balancing the budget is not rocket science. we know the various options. former president lyndon johnson was fond of quoting the prophet isaiah, come let us reason together. that is what we need to do. we can acknowledge and expect our differences but at the end of the day, the american people have entrusted us with governing and with being prag prag a matich. let us -- pragmatic. let us do our jobs so federal workers can get back to do their jobs. madam president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. collins: madam president, it's my understanding that the senator from arizona wishes to address the chamber about an upcoming motion to recommit the
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bill. i would yield time to him. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: i thank the chair and, madam president, this is the first appropriation bill that we're considering for fy 14. unfortunately, in my view it gets us off to the wrong foot because of the spending level. the bill spends more than $54 billion, that's about $5 billion above last year's spending level, and more than $10 billion over the house proposal for this coming fiscal year. considering that our debt stands at over $17 trillion, we ought to be spending less, not more this year. this bill already takes a larger portion of the total spendable -- allowable spending cared exaird to last year. people will point out that the budget agreement we agreed to in 2011 sets an aggregate number
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and that we can spend whatever we want in certain appropriation bills as long as the total doesn't come over $967 billion. that is true. but it is impossible and i can say that with experience in the house and now in the senate, that if you overspend on the initial appropriation bills that you will somehow cut back in the bills that come later, often the last bill to come up is the defense bill. nobody is going to undercut our troops or spend less in a defense bill, but that would be required if we were to stay under the budget control agreement number. so when we overspend on the initial appropriation bills like this, it simply means one thing, that we're going to bust the budget. i can tell you to have any credibility with the taxpayers, we've got to stick to the agreement that was agreed to in 2011. we have so far. we even went through the
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sequester because we couldn't come up with an agreement to prioritize spending. but now to go over on the first appropriation bill, to go over the spending limit would not set the right precedent moving ahead into the appropriation bills. we've simply got to deal with this debt and deficit and this isn't the way to go. that's why i support the upcoming motion to recommit that senator toomey will offer in a few minutes that would simply recommit the bill back to the appropriations committee and say come back with something that fits within the budget control act that is similar to what was spent last year. not overspending by $5 billion. i hope that we'll pass this motion to recommit, i hope that we'll start off on motion bills in the senate -- appropriation bills in the senate on the right foot. with that i yield the floor, madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: i yield five minutes to senator hoeven.
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mr. hoeven: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i'd like to thank the senator from maine and also wish to express comments in regard to the motion to the -- n to recommit. t-hud is an important bill and includes funding for things that we consider absolutely priority, transportation, roads, bridges, for housing and for other purposes. so we very much want to fund a transportation, housing, and urban development bill. but the problem we've got here is that we haven't agreed as far as the appropriations bills as to an overall total in how much we will spend. and that's really the problem that we're confronting with this legislation. under the budget control act, the total for all the appropriations bills cannot
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exceed $967 billion. that's the law. that's the law. but the majority party is appropriating to $1 $1,058,000,000,000. so as appropriators, we want to go through, prioritize spending, make sure we're funding the things that should be funded, and them for things that are -- then for things that are lower priorities, not funding those so we can truly fund the priorities that are important to the american people. the problem is, we're not going to be able to do that unless we get an agreement on the total funding level and that agreement is exactly what the b.c.a. provides, the budget control act, provides. and it says specifically $967 billion. that's the law. that's the law. and we have a $17 trillion debt. we have a deficit this year that c.b.o. projects to be in the
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range of $750 billion. that's a real problem for our country. that's a problem that we have got to address. we have got to get the deficit and the debt under control, and there's two ways to do that. one is to raise revenue, and that comes from economic growth, not higher taxes. it comes from economic growth, getting our economy going. and, of course, the other way to reduce that deficit is to control spending. and that's what a budget is all about and sticking to that budget. and we ought to have a balanced budget amendment, which i very much support, but what we have right now is the budget control act. it is the law. so the question i ask is: why are -- why is the majority party saying we are going to appropriate 12 appropriations bills that total $1,07 $1,078,000,000,000 rather than $967 trillion? and how are we going to get our
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deficit and our debt under control if we don't adhere to the budget guidelines that are set? so the simple point and the very clear point that i want to make is this. as appropriators and as senators, i believe we all want to prioritize funding, make sure we fund the things that are important, like infrastructure, like housing and other priorities. and for the things that shouldn't be funded say okay, we're not going to fund those items. that's the difference between prioritizing and the so-called sequester. the across-the-board cuts. right? but we're headed down a trail right now if we approve this bill as is and bring other appropriation bills to the floor and approve them as they are, the sequester automatically kicks in again. under the law, the sequester comes right back in and will bring these bills down to a total of $967 billion. so what have we gained?
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we haven't accomplished what we're trying to do which is to prioritize the funding. so let's find a way across the aisle to come to an agreement to make sure that we prioritize funding and do so within the b.c.a. limit of $967 billion because that's what the law says. that's what the law says we have to do. and we need to find a way to come to an agreement. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. hoeven: madam president, i also note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, madam president. i'd ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you, madam president. madam president, later this afternoon, senator toomey will be offering a motion to recommit the transportation-h.u.d. appropriations bill back to the appropriations committee. while i commend senator toomey's goal of ensuring that the fiscal year 2014 spending levels comply with the budget control act
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spending caps, i do not believe that this is the right approach. now, let me be clear. i voted in the appropriations committee, as did every republican member of that committee, for a top-line level of $960 billion. that is the amount that is in the budget control act. that is law. but this is the very first appropriations bill that has been brought to the senate floor. we have no idea where we are going to be at the end of the process. the two leaders of the appropriations committee have called for regular order and i commend them for bringing appropriations bills to the floor, starting with this one, one at a time for debate,
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amendment, and full consideration. we have had many amendments filed to this bill. several of them would reduce spending that's in this bill. one reduces spending by $50 million for the home program. that's being offered by the senator from arizona. there's another that reduces spending by over a billion dollars for the community development block grant program. that's not a cut i happen to believe should be made but that's a legitimate amendment that if it passes would reduce spending in this bill by a billion dollars. there are other amendments that have been proposed to reduce spending in this bill. so this is turning the process upside-down.
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it is recommitting to committee a bill before we've had the opportunity to determine what the final spending level in the bill is even going to be. as a result of the many amendments that have been filed. furthermore, we are not going to know if we have breached the cap until we finish all of the appropriations bills. now, i realize that my democratic colleagues want a far higher spending cap than i do and than the budget control act provides, but i don't think that we should short circuit the process when there has been a good-faith effort to bring appropriations bills to the floor. what i would propose, madam president, in lieu of the
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approach offered by my friend and colleague, senator toomey, is an amendment which i'm going to file this afternoon that sa says, "not later than october 1, the committee on appropriations shall revise the sub-allocations to the subcommittees for fiscal year 2014 such that the sub-allocations comply with the discretionary spending limits that are in the balanced budget and emergency deficit control act," what we refer to as the budget control act, the b.c.a. so to me, this is the proper way to do it. if at the end of the fiscal year we find that the appropriations bills that have been passed exceed the statutory cap that is
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in the b.c.a., then we should reopen the process and reallocate the funds, the ceilings, the caps across each of the subcommittees and produce bills that comply with the law. and, frankly, since current law applies this cap anyway, if we don't do that, sequestration will take effect on january 1 of next year. and i do not think that's a good approach because it treats all programs as if they are the same and does not allow us to set priorities. so, madam president, i think the approach of the senator from pennsylvania is premature, a
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blunt instrument and there's a reasonable alternative. i think it discourages a return to normal order, where we bring the appropriations bills to the floor and where members are free to eliminate whole programs, to cut billions if they wish to do so. and, indeed, members have worthwhile amendments that would reduce spending. but to send the bill back to committee before we've even had a chance to consider those amendments and the senate to work its will to me is completely upside-down of the way the process should work. furthermore, i will make the point once again, this is the first appropriations bill. how can we say that the cap is
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breached when it's the very first bill to be brought before us? and, frankly, madam president, having gone through this process where we did have a free-standing transportatio transportation-h.u.d. bill and seniority murray and i went to conference with our house counterparts, we came back with a consensus bill that became law that was inbetween the amounts that were in the senate bill and the house bill. so we ended up at a lower level, which we knew we would and which i will not feel that i'm going out on a limb here in predicting that we would in this case as well, since the senate bill is higher than the house bill. why can't we let the process work? why can't we consider the amendments that have been
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offered, some of which may well pass and reduce spending? why can't we go to conference with the house where i believe additional cuts are probably likely? and why can't we let the appropriations process unfold the way it should be? why should we short circuit it now by saying, that's enough, let's return the bill to committee. we don't trust what's going to happen. when there's safeguards to put in so ensure at the end of the day, we will be at the cap of $967 billion. as i said, i will file my amendment this afternoon to give us an actual mechanism to ensure that as of the beginning of the
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fiscal year, we are at those levels. that's one approach and i think it's a far better approach. thank you, madam president. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator sph washington. mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside and the follow amendments be called up. coburn number 1756, mccain 1803, boozman 1785, and udall of colorado number 1789, that the amendments be agreed to en bloc and the motion to reconsider be made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mrs. murray: thank you, madam president. madam president, it is my understanding that we have a republican senator who is coming to the floor shortly to are make a motion to recommit. and i will just for the
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information of all members at some point to be agreed upon we will dispense with that amendment this afternoon. we're hoping to do -- a number of members have asked timing on that and i will work with the senator and our staffs to try and do that as soon as possible. i know many members are waiting for that. with that, i will ask -- suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. baucus: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: madam president, i ask that further proceedings of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. baucus: madam president, just outside this chamber are the likenesses of washington, jefferson, lincoln and dozens of statesman cast in bronze ans marble. i often look to these individuals for inspiration and quotes when writing a speech. on a recent walk across the capitol to meet my colleague, congressman dave camp, i passed a giant statue of andrew jackson. it was jackson who famously said, "the wisdom of man never yet contrive add system of taxation that would operate with perfect equality." end quote. madam president, those words were spoken by jackson in 1832, more than 100 years later, our nation still struggles with a
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broken tax system. our tax code today is inequitable, inefficient, incomprehensible to the overwhelming majority of americans. it contains nearly 4 million words, 4 million. if someone were to try read the entire code outloud it would take them more than 18 uninterrupted days. not only is the code long, it is maddeningly complex. 42 different definitions of a small business in the code, 42. 15 different tax incentives for higher education, so many that the i.r.s. had to publish a booklet just to explain and simplify the higher education tax incentives. and that book is -- here i have it with me, madam president. that book is 90 pages long just on the education incentives. here it is. find anybody to read it, let alone somebody trying to go to college or a parent trying to help his or her child go to
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college. the code is just a la labyrinth that 90% of americans have to use an accountant or computer software to file their tax returns. it still takes the average taxpayer 13 hours to gather an compile the receipts and forms to comply with the code. the tax code today is also inefficient and unfair. it is riddled with loopholes, deductions that result in more than $1 trillion in lost revenue each year. this complexity in the code is eroding the confidence in our economy, creating uncertainty for america's families and businesses, many americans thinking, the other guy -- the fancy lawyer can take advantage of the code and pay lower taxes which means more tax burden onto me. it is just not fair. confidence is eroding. it is also threatening to undermine the competitiveness of the united states in the global marketplace. harvard business school did a survey asking 10,000 of its
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graduates around the worltd about the challenges of doing business in america. these individuals -- these 10,000 -- are leaders on the front lines of the global economy and they are pessimistic about america's economic future. the vast majority of those surveyed -- 71% -- expected u.s. competitiveness to deteriorate over the next several years. and what do they identify as the root of america's competitiveness problem? respondents pointed to america's tax code, to the code as one of the greatest weaknesses in the u.s. business environment. dig deeper and you learn respondents were deterred from investing in the united states not simply by higher statutory corporate tax rate but also by the sheer complexity of the uncertainty of the future tax code. i mentioned that report to people and they nod their heads in agreement. that's what they have found themselves, too.
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the survey concludes with a dire warning. "for the first time in decades, the business environment in the united states is in danger of falling behind the rest of the world." end quote. that's bad news for everyone. a fundamentally weakened u.s. economy is not only an american problem but also a global risk. end quote. mr. president d. madam president, chairman camp and i have been working together for more than two years on comprehensive tax reform. here in the senate i have been working on tax reform the past three years with my good friend, senator hatch, the ranking member of the finance committee. we've held more than 30 hearings, heard from hundreds of experts on how the code can simplify the tax -- tax reform can simplify the system for families, help businesses innovate, and make the united states more competitive. a lot of people talk about more jobs, a lot of talk about more jobs. this is one way to get more jobs -- reform the tax code. it'll unleash so much positive
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energy in this country. it'll -- it would create a lot more jobs than any other plan i've recently heard of. we've held more than 30 hearings, heard from hundreds of experts on how the reform can simplify the system, help businesses innovate and make the u.s. more competitive. last month senator hatch and i completed work on the finance committee on an extensive three-month top-to-bottom review of the tax code. we met as a full committee every week to collect feedback on different topics in the tax reform and issued 10 discussion papers to kick off that conversation. in an effort to include the entire senate, we called on all senators to partner with us and provide their input for reforming the code. we called in every senator to submit their proposals for what they ban want to see in a reford code. this is an important exercise. everyone needs to be involved. we need every senator to weigh in on tax reform. the deadline is this friday --
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tomorrow. i encourage all of my colleagues to submit their ideas and make their voices heard. i might say your constituents are certainly making their voices heard. we've heard more than 10,000 comments and ideas through the web site that chairman camp and i created called actually 10,258 responses to be exact. overwhelmingly, americans from every quoarch our country are calling for a simplified tax code. people think they should not have to spend hours upon hours and hundreds of dollars to prepare their taxes. i agree. let me share a couple of smitionz we've heard on our web site. jennifer from hollywood, maryland, writes, "i have been doing my family's tafnlings for 22 years. this year my husband suggest thed we use a tax service. why? the tax code is too complicated. he was concerned we're missing deductions." end quote. mike from fort collins, colorado, provides an example of the complexity of the code in his writing. he says, "i have been a tax
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assistant's volume feaassistant9 years. it is difficult to tell someone that there are actually four different definitions of a chilled in the tax law. make the same definition apply across the entire tax coavmentd the best way is the simplest way." wendy from california writes, "i don't mind paying taxes. we need education, infrastructure, and defense, but i do mind that it's a complete mystery and a complete game to find every allowable deduction and it is a significant burden as well as a significant expense to pay a qualified preparer. dishow this come to be? my returns are 20 to 50 pages long. why is it no moore than two pages. there must be a way to simplify the process. end quote. wendy's right. there must be a way to simplify the process. that's the same message i heard earlier in st. paul, minnesota. trips were taken across the
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country to speak with people about tax reform. we want to get out of washington. we're doing it this summer. we're going to philadelphia next monday to get input and feedback from people on dealing with america's tax system. the one in st. paul was a great trip. we met with leaders of two distinctly different types of american businesses, one a u.s.-based multinational corporation with more than 85,000 employees. the other a family run bakery with 85 employees. while dramatically different in size and industry, they face similar challenges when it comes to dealing with america's tax code. in conversation after conversation, we heard the same thing. we need a simpler tax code. st. paul was the first stop. the next trip is philadelphia. then we plan to go to the west coast. we've got other trips planned over the next couple of months. we're going to talk to groups about how we can make the tax system fairer and easier to deal with and we want to learn how we can restore confidence in the code. we are due to build momentum.
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reform provides an historic opportunity to give families certainty, spark growth, create jobs, make businesses more competitive, to provide america with a real shot in the arm. i conclude my remarks with a quote. these words are from our nation's sixth president, john quincy adams. president adams said "patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." that's where we are, madam president, with patience we're persevering. we have a lot to do. difficulties will disappear, obstacles vanish. the result will be americans have a simpler code. i yield the floor. and i thank my colleagues who are managing the pending bill for yielding time.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania.
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mr. toomey: madam president, i rise to describe a motion to recommit that i'm going to offer, and i'd like to discuss this if i could. madam president, let me start by providing a little bit of context for why i'm offering this motion to recommit. that has to start by reminding my colleagues about the budget control act that was signed into law in 2011, about two years ago. in the budget control act, which, again, that's an act, not a bill. it's been signed into law. it is the existing law of the land. it established spending caps, limits on discretionary spending in a modest effort to try to bring out-of-control spending somewhat under control. so we have a statutory limit on how much the federal government is permitted to spend. it's a limit on both the defense side and the non-defense side. but it's a limit. it's an attempt to control that which has been so difficult to
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control in this town, which is federal spending. now i should point out that even if we abide by the spending caps that are in the existing law -- so if we followed the law, we're still going to run a huge deficit. next year the deficit will be about $560 billion. that means next year, if we have the spending discipline of living within the law, we will still increase our total outstanding debt by more than $500 billion, and our debt as a percentage of our economy will rise to 76%. 76% debt to g.d.p. ratio is already -- our debt to g.d.p. ratio is already higher than it should be. it's already costing us economic growth in jobs. it's going to rise further, and that's assuming we stick to the spending cap. i should point out that the way we got to this point is just spending on auto pilot, just growing spending every year.
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i'll give you one example. since 2000, total federal spending has doubled. that's the scale of the increases in spending that we've been experiencing here, and that's why we've been running huge deficits. we now have a massive debt, and the accumulated debt is causing this big drag on our economy and preventing us from having the kind of job growth that we ought to have. here's my big concern, madam president. the bill that we're considering right now, the transportation-h.u.d. bill puts us on a direct path to bust the caps, to break the law, to spend even more than the statutory limits that we put in place just two years ago. now let me walk through how we get there. the fact is under the budget control act, the cap that's set on discretionary spending for the fiscal year we are currently debating, 2014, is $967 billion. that's the number. if you add up the spending sums for all of the appropriations
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bills that my democratic friends want to pass, it adds up to $1.058 trillion. it's $91 billion more spending than is permitted under current law. it busts the caps by almost $100 billion. we can't afford this kind of spending. we can't afford the spending we're currently contemplating, much less another $100 billion nearly. now, i should be clear. any single bill doesn't bust the caps all by itself. it's what they do in combination. but this bill is one of a series that in combination is designed to bust the caps. and all you have to do is add up the total spending in each bill, and you get a number that is much greater than the cap, so it's very clear. this particular bill, by the way, is a huge increase. the transportation-h.u.d. bill spends over $54 billion in its current form as currently
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contemplated. that is $5 billion more than in 2013. that's a 10% increase in just one year. it's almost $10 billion more than what the house proposed. it's even more money than what the president of the united states asked for in his own budget request. he did not ask for this much money. and yet, here it is on the senate floor, a bill that busts the cap, increases spending dramatically and spends more money than the president even asks for at a time when we are running huge deficits that are costing us economic growth. this, madam president, i think, is a very bad idea. and so i have a motion, and i'm grateful to have the support of many of my colleagues, including senator shelby and senator hoeven, both who are appropriators. i think senator hoeven is intending to speak in support of this motion. and let me just explain clearly what it will do. what my motion would do is send the bill back to committee with
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instructions to lower the spending in the bill to $45.455 billion. that is the number that would be consistent with the spending cap. it would allocate an amount of money to this appropriations bill, the transportation-h.u.d. bill, in proportion to what the transportation-h.u.d. bill spends under the current fiscal year. it would do that for this next fiscal year. i'm not suggesting that i would go through and line by line make all the individual adjustments within the bill. i would leave that to the committee that has the most expertise on this, the appropriations committee. let them do their work, but let them do it in a way that ends up with a product that's consistent with the law, consistent with the spending caps. now, one point i should make about the spending caps in the budget control act, i think there are some folks in this town who mistakenly think that since deficits have been, gotten a little smaller in recent years
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than they were in the past few years that somehow we don't have a deficit problem anymore and we can just crank up spending. i've got to say i think that is a profoundly mistaken view, madam president. we still have a huge problem with the spending path that we are on. a $500 billion deficit is a devastatingly large deficit. and as bad as that is, several years in the future, under current projections -- and this assumes that we live within the law -- within a few years these deficits start to explode again even beyond the current levels which are already unacceptable. so i just think that this is a very, very important -- this is the first appropriations bill that the senate is considering this year. this is the one that's going to determine whether we're going to go down a path of disregarding the bipartisan presidential signed law of the land which is in existence right now. this bill is designed to be part
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of a process that busts that wide open so that we spend more money that we can't afford. madam president, i think that would be a huge mistake. this is a motion to recommit back to the committee to report out a bill where they can establish the priorities and the allocation within the limit, but set the limit at a level that's consistent with the caps. and so, madam president, i move to commit s. 1243 to the committee on appropriations with instructions to report back with such changes as may be necessary such that total budget authority for fiscal year 2014 is not greater than $45.455 billion, and i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: there is a sufficient second. the yeas and nays are ordered. mrs. murray: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: madam president, i rise to strongly oppose this motion that is now before it in
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the senate and urge all of my colleagues to vote against it as well. senator collins and i have worked very closely together to write a bipartisan transportation and housing bill that works for our families and our communities. and we've been working here together on the floor to have an open debate and accept amendments from both sides of the aisle. we just accepted a number of them a few minutes ago. and in addition to six republicans who explicitly supported this bill in committee along with all of the democrats, a total of 73 senators voted to start debate on this bill. but now, madam president, this motion that is now before us would take all of that bipartisan work that we did on this bill in committee, it would take the strong bipartisan support it received coming out of committee and just throw it all away and ask us to simply now adopt the house republican budget and start all over again. there is absolutely no reason,
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madam president, for us to go back to the drawing board, especially not under the conditions that are laid out in this motion. madam president, back in march we had a very vigorous debate here in the senate about our values and our priorities when it came to the federal budget. we debated about the future of medicare. we talked about how the wealthiest americans should contribute their fair share. we debated what should be done with an overall spending levels and the automatic cuts from sequestration which were put in place in the bipartisan budget control act. in order to bring both sides to the table to replace them with more responsible deficit reduction. madam president, everyone will remember we spent dozens of hours debating the budget on the senate floor, and then my colleagues had a choice. we ran an open process. any senator could bring an amendment to the floor. we considered over 100 of them from democrats and republicans. and one of my republican colleagues even offered the
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house budget as an amendment, which locks in that overall sequestration level but actually ignores the budget control act by simply pushing the entire burden on to seniors and families in our communities. but as we all know, the house budget was rejected by the senate. it got only 40 votes here. five republicans actually voted against it. and, madam president, the senate budget we ended up passing replaces sequestration with an equal mix of responsible spending cuts and new revenue by closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthiest americans. so, madam president, the house passed their budget that locks in sequestration on steroids. the senate passed our budget that replaces sequestration with more responsible deficit reduction. and i absolutely agree with my colleagues that we cannot finish that budget process until we find a way to bridge that guide between the house and -- bridge
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that divide between the house and senate. but i want to be clear here. a motion to recommit on an appropriations bill is not the place to have the debate on the overall spending levels. that is what a budget conference is for. that's where the two sides need to go to work out a deal on this. but as my colleagues all know, despite the efforts of many republicans and democrats alike, a few senators, a very few senators continue blocking a bipartisan budget conference, and so far we have been unable to even get in a room to talk about that. madam president, we are going to keep trying to start a budget conference and work towards a bipartisan deal, but until we do, the bipartisan work that is being done in the appropriations committee now, led by chairwoman senator mikulski, has got to continue. you know, madam president, now that my colleague has brought this motion to the floor that attempts to lock in sequestration and force the
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house budget onto our transportation and housing bill, let's talk about it for a few minutes. the bill that we are debating right now, the transportation and housing bill, could not exist at the sequestration levels that are being pushed in the house. my partner on this bill, senator collins, has been clear as i have that the differences between the house and senate transportation bills could not be more stark. our bipartisan bill here in the senate continues to invest in our communities through the community development block grant program, cdbg, while the partisan house bill cut that in half to the lowest level ever, which would mean 40,000 fewer jobs in this country, and communities across the country would have to halt projects they are just planning on to help get their communities moving again. our bipartisan bill here in the senate invests in essential air
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service. it make sure that there is enough in the program to cover all of the communities that currently participate in it. the house partisan bill that this motion would recommit and put us back into the position of considering would shortchange the entire program and would cut it by more than a third, and that -- and it includes additional language that would kick out communities in states like montana and new mexico that absolutely depend on this. here in the senate, -- madam president, i would ask for order in the senate. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senator from washington. mrs. murray: the bipartisan bill that the senate has invests in our families to make sure they have a roof over their head when they need it most, to help them if they are disabled or seniors who need to stay off the streets. the partisan house bill would
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serve 132,000 fewer people, many of whom would end up homeless without this support. madam president, those are just a few examples. i could name many that are in this bill. if sequestration numbers were to be blocked in the way that this motion that is before us envisions, we will continue seeing the impact across our entire federal government. as secretary hagel has made very clear, the defense worker furloughs would continue and get worse. in my home state of washington, i talked about it here on the senate floor this morning. we have seen the consequences of those cuts. you know where we're seeing them. in places like madigan hospital where a young woman came and told me about being furloughed on fridays and what it translated into in terms of people having their brain surgery delayed because of the shutdowns on friday. that's what we're talking about here.
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doctors and nurses being furloughed in our army hospitals as we have injured soldiers coming home that need care. sequestration is going to impact funding for our firefighters who are protecting our homes and lands. civilian employees, it will hit the law enforcement officials who are protecting our cities from the threat of terrorism. it will strip funds from cancer research at n.i.h. our roads and bridges and rails will continue to crumble and small businesses, madam president, will pay the price. now, this will be happening while a lot of other countries who are our competitors in this global marketplace are doing the opposite. they are investing in themselves. they are setting themselves up to compete in the 21st century economy. so, madam president, that is the reality of sequestration. it may not make the news every single day in every paper. we may not see all the impacts right away, but it is very real and it will truly be devastating. it will be devastating for our
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families. it will be devastating for our national security and our long-term economic growth if we don't replace it. and by the way, it's not just democrats who are saying this. economists like ben bernanke have said it is hurting the economy. and many of my republican colleagues have spent a lot of time going around the country talking about how devastating it is on the defense side. so, madam president, i'm happy to have this debate. i just don't think this bill, this appropriations bill, the transportation and housing bill is the place to do it. if the senator from pennsylvania and others want to start a debate and a negotiation between the senate budget and the house budget, they should stop objecting to us going to conference. that's where this should occur. but until then, i urge my colleagues reject this motion. allow us to continue working on the bipartisan bill that we have worked so hard to bring the senate to. let's work to create jobs and invest in families and
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communities and lay down a strong foundation for long-term and broad-based growth. madam president, i move to table this motion and ask -- and ask for the yeas and nays and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. mrs. murray: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: madam president, i would ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: and would ask that i be allowed to speak for up to five minutes. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i would just ask the senator if the senator from maryland can speak for five minutes, and i would notify all of our colleagues that we intend to go to the motion to table once that debate occurs. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: madam president, i want to thank -- the presiding officer: we have the senator from maryland, is that right? the senator from alabama. thank you. mr. sessions: i want to thank my colleague, senator toomey, for raising this matter and asking to recommit the legislation so
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that the senate committee, the appropriate committee, would produce a thud plan for spending that complies with the budget control act, which is the law of the land. senator toomey is one of our most knowledgeable members on finance in the senate. he is a member of the budget committee, fully understands the significance of this matter. if this budget -- if this legislation passes at the level it's moving forward at today, then we have eviscerated the promises we made to the american public in august of 2011. in august of 2011, everyone should remember quite well, we said we would raise the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion. we will reach that by the end of this year. we will have used up and borrowed another $2.1 trillion at the end of the year.
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we have said we will reduce spending by $2.1 trillion over ten years to make it easy on ourselves and to spread out the spending cuts. and that was passed into law with bipartisan support and signed by president obama. so this is not some law that was made up out of thin air. it was a public law that was debated and passed and both -- in both houses of congress, republicans and democrats agreed to it, and it improved our spending a little bit. we were then spending at the rate of $37 trillion over ten. we were projected to increase spending to $47 trillion over ten years. this bill reduced it to $45 trillion. so under the current spending limits that we now have as senator toomey has so ably pointed out, we are going to increase spending over the next ten years. we are going to increase it from $37 trillion to $45 trillion. at a time we have been running
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the largest deficits the nation has ever seen, bar none. an absolute irresponsible level of debt has been added to our country. and even this modest proposal agreed to by the president, voted on by the majority party here in the senate, supported in a bipartisan way. before two years is up, oh, it's too tough. we can't reduce the growth of spending from $47 trillion to $45 trillion. oh, this is going to destroy america. well, why don't we look for ways to spread out the cuts and touch some of the departments and agencies that got zero reductions in spending, like medicaid, like food stamps, zero reduction. no, we can't touch those. they are sacrosanct and other programs, too. so we have got some reductions in spending on the discretionary
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accounts that we can sustain, and it will be tough. that's what we are paid to do. so the committee -- the bill should properly go back to the committee. they should be instructed in a vote in favor of the toomey amendment would instruct the committee to produce a bill that's consistent with the budget limits. that's all it is. now, the way -- the way this is set up -- is the time up? how much time is left? the presiding officer: the senator has a minute and a half. mr. sessions: so just essentially the majority leader has already said that he intends to bring up the defense bill last. national security last. why is he going to do that? he's going to do that because he's going to let all these other bills go over the budget limit and then he's going to produce the defense bill and say oh, colleagues, we have got to
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add more money to the defense bill, putting us over the b.c.a. limits that we agreed to and were passed into law and are in the law. we have got to waive that and just spend more. this is how a nation goes broke. this is how we lose credibility with the american people. we looked them in the high two years ago, and we said we were going to reduce the growth of spending a little bit, $2.1 trillion, in exchange for raising the debt ceiling $2.1 trillion. and now the majority party here is just blithely walking in, pretending that never happened, saying we didn't intend to pass a limb. well, why did you vote for it then if you didn't intend to pass it? we did intend to pass it. we promised the american people $2.1 trillion in reduced growth
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in spending, not reducing spending, just reducing the growth. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. sessions: i thank the chair, would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: madam president, let me thank senator murray and senator collins for returning us to regular order, bringing an appropriation bill to the floor that is consistent with the budget resolution passed by this body. i want to also compliment, if i might, my colleague from maryland, the chairman of the appropriations committee, senator mikulski. we are returning to regular order in the united states senate. and i find it amazing. it was just a week ago that my colleagues on the republican side saying that we don't want to turn the senate into the house. and now you're -- you have a motion to recommit that would take the house numbers. we didn't do that.
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do we just have a unicameral legislature? i thought we thought this body was important, yet this motion to recommit will have the effect of saying that what we do in this body doesn't make any difference. let's just take the house. i don't think that's what we really want. the house bill has been reported and i don't think it's been yet voted on was a partisan bill. what we did in this body is had democrats and republicans working together. that should be the model that we use in this institution. and the motion to recommit would destroy that, would take that away. that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. but let me talk on the merits, if i might, for one moment, and that is what this motion would mean as far as jobs in this country and responsible investments. remember that we're operating under a budget resolution that will reduce the deficit. it gets us to the actually
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stronger efforts to reduce the deficit. now, i can't speak to every category of spending, but i do know something about transportation. i serve on the environment and public works committee, and i could tell you, madam president, there is bipartisan support on our committee to do more than what's in this budget. we got trillions of dollars of roads and bridges that are falling down. we've got to invest to create jobs. we understand transportation creates jobs. the motion to recommit would take us to numbers that are lower than the sequestration numbers. i was just on the floor a few minutes ago talking about how the sequestration is hurting this country, it's hurting job growth, hurting our economy, hurting federal workers, hurting ordinary americans. well, this motion makes it worse. goes below the sequestration numbers. we need to invest in job
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growth, we need to do it in a balanced, responsible way, that's exactly what senator murray did and wearing her hat as chairman of the senate budget committee, she's now property out an appropriation bill totally consistent with the action there, and here's the real hypocrisy. what we have said on our side of the aisle, we understand there's a difference, let's go to conference and resolve the differences. and the same people who are supporting this motion won't let us go to conference to resolve the differences. we should return to regular order. reject this motion to recommit. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: the question the presiding officer: the question occurs on the motion to table the motion to recommit offered by the senator from pennsylvania. the yeas and nays have been ordered. the clerk will call the roll.
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the ayes are 56, the nays are 426789 the motion to table i is approved. without objection. mrs. murray: and lay it on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. murray: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent -- the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i ask unanimous consent that the senate go thew a period of morning business with the time equally divided between the minority and majority. the senator iwith senators permk up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, what we've seen here is a recognition that these are tough times and we need some belt tightening. but to go back to this level of
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sequestration is not the right thing to do because that's taking a meat cleaver approach across the board on cutting federal programs. it's just not a responsible way of belt tightening. so, fortunately, this motion to recommit, to in essence go to the level of the appropriations for transportation and housing and urban development that was to take it to the level of the house, which is considerably lower than what has come out of our appropriations committee here in the senate, fortunately, this motion to recommit was defeated. why do we want to cut funding as the house bill does to critical areas such as air traffic control? it's dangerous. it's shortsighted. and we've been through this
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rodeo before. as a matter of fact, don't we remember earlier in the year that we had to fix the sequestration cuts that went into effect in the current fiscal years which was cutting out all kinds of air traffic controllers and the furlough of a number of them, the closure of the contract towers for the small airports. we had to reverse that. the public rose up and said this is not the right nor intelligent thing to do when it comes to the public safety. and so in addition to compromising, the safety of the traveling public, those air traffic cuts would have increased the flight delays by hours and hours and caused a lot of cancellations. and lo and behold, when the american traveling public saw
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that that was exactly what was happening, they rose up and they said enough. and the body politic responded. here was an attempt to repeat that all over again. so if we reduce the top line of funding for this next fiscal year on this bill, we're going to be right back in the same situation where we were last spring, scrambling to keep our aviation system functioning and to keep it functioning safely and delaying again the next generation of air traffic control, which we are desperately trying to set up. and so this house of representatives sequestration budget outside of aviation, it's going to mean more crumbling
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roads and bridges, more families unable to put a roof over their heads, and our infrastructure will continue to be falling into further disrepair. so it's our responsibility to keep our country safe and the economy moving, and thank goodness we rejected this attempt to go back to the dark ages. but we're going to have more and more of these. now, i can tell you one other attempt that we are going to face next tuesday in a markup in the commerce committee of the nasa authorization bill. here is a bill that has never been partisan. it's not only bipartisan, it has been nonpartisan. we've never had a partisan vote on a nasa authorization bill. three years ago on the nasa
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authorization bill that broke a lot of new ground, we passed it out of the senate unanimously, out of the committee unanimously, out of the whole senate unanimously. well, i'm very sad to report to the senate that next tuesday we're going to have a markup of the nasa authorization bill. there's not disagreement of the balance that we have in the bill between the big rocket called the space launch system, its capsule, its spacecraft orion, what we balance against commercial rockets trying to get cargo and crew to the international space station. there's not a disagreement on that. there's not a disagreement with keeping up the programs on our weather satellites. all of the stuff that we put up for noaa so that in fact we can
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predict our weather. and in hurricane season that becomes especially important. there's not a disagreement about continuing the exploration program with the robotic spacecraft to mars and to other planets as well as putting up a satellite in part for the department of the defense to warn us against the solar nuclear explosions on the surface of the sun so that we can get ready to safe our satellites by the time that nuclear radiation gets to earth. there's no disagreement on this. there's no disagreement on the future new space telescope called the james webb space telescope that's going to replace the existing one when it goes on the blink that has uncovered all of these secrets of the universe as we peer back into time on the universe.
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there's no agreement on the substance of this bill. the partisan vote that's going to occur on tuesday in the commerce committee is going to be because of the funding level. the bill that senator rockefeller and i have offered that will be voted on will be, unfortunately, a partisan vote because it takes the level of funding of the budget resolution $18.1 billion, and the partisan vote will be because those want the sequester to apply $16.8 billion instead of $18.1 billion, or even lower as the house of representatives have done $16.6 billion. i can tell you that that little agency, nasa, can't do all of
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these things that i just mentioned that there's no disagreement that we need to do. getting humans back into space, preparing for the next major exploration with humans in the decade of the 2030's going to the planet mars. there's no disagreement with that, but you can't do it if you don't provide the funds now to develop the techniques, the technology, the procedures and build our way like building blocks to ultimately where we can send humans, multiples of millions of miles away from the home planet and bring them back safely. and sadly, i'm afraid we're going to have a partisan vote because of that disagreement on the level of funding.
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the first time ever that we're going to have that kind of vote recorded on that little agency called the national aeronautics and space administration. and so, just like today, here we go. now down the road, this is going to have to be decided. and it probably will come very late in the year. it will probably come when we come to another crisis point of having to raise the debt ceiling. it will probably come to the point where we've got all kind of good, new ideas on tax reform that will be coming out, on major tax reform coming out of the finance committee, that we're limping along on appropriations bills just to keep us funded, to keep the government functioning after
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october 1 in the new fiscal year. and at some point all of this is coming to a head, including what level of funding is it going to be. i hope we will start using some common sense and act accordingly. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: thank you, mr. president. so even as i speak here at this very moment -- but maybe he's wrapped up, but the president is in jacksonville, florida, today how to get the middle class going again. unfortunately, i hope the president would do more listening than talking because if he looked at the middle class, he would hear that the number-one concern that many of
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them now have is about obamacare. recently i made the statement that i don't believe we should pass a short-term budget here that pays for obamacare. since that time i've heard the comments of some that that is an unreasonable request, but i want to outline today just one more reason why i think it is an unreasonable requeo actually fund it. because of the impact that obamacare is having on real people, particularly those of us in the middle class here in the united states. i want to focus on small businesses today because they truly are the backbone of the american economy. people here throw that term around all the time. the backbone of the economy. it really is. i live within a few blocks of h street where literally every business is a small business. bakery, sandwich shorpbgs primarily run by immigrants. they will be impacted by changes this law is going to have and i want to describe some of them. yesterday we had a hearing in the small business committee where the administration spoke first and basically their take
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on it is obamacare is going to be good for small businesses for two reasons. one, we're going to set up these health exchanges that small businesses can go to and offer health insurance to their employees on this exchange. the exchange basically is a one-stop shop. go online and there's eight or ten companies theoretically, private insurers. you get to pick a plan from one of those and your employees get insured from it. theoretically that is not a bad idea but i'll outline why that is not working out. second is a tax credit that small businesses will be able to use. i want to use the testimony of is small businesses yesterday to outline why in fact these will not be able to work but obamacare will be deeply hurtful. let's talk about the exchanges. the exchanges are not unfolding as they planned. i asked the administration is it going to be ready by october 1? are businesses going to be able to go on this exchange and find an insurance plan for its employees? they said they are sure it's
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going to happen. but the truth is it's not working out that way. there are 17 states who have decided to go on with their own exchanges. all 17 of those states are behind schedule in one form or another. maryland was one of the first states to embrace it. they just asked for a delay in april because they couldn't get it going on time. a recent report from the government ability office reported all 17 states were behind schedule and they were missing deadlines on 44% of the key things that they had to do. here's the second problem. these exchanges only work if you have a lot of companies competing against each other. but that's not happening either. insurers aren't flooding to offer insurances on these exchanges. let me give you an example. there's three states: washington state, new hampshire, and north carolina, where only one company has responded, being there's no competition. and that is what is supposed to drive down the rates. in another state not a single company responded until humana
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came in to save the day and decided to jump on board. but here's what the vice president of a consulting firm that specializes on this called avalear health. the vice president said -- quote -- "humana may have a difficult time building competitive networks in mississippi so we can see higher than averages premiums in this region." another reason to doubt these exchanges are going to work and the impact it is going to have is terrible. what the tax credits? that's a great idea, right? we're giving these tax credits to small business they can use to buy this health insurance for their employees. that's not working out either. that's not working out either. let me give you an example. the amount of people using it, the amount of companies using it, about only 14% of companies that are eligible for the tax credit are using it. and here's why. let me read you a quote from the tax partner pat thompson, a tax partner, also the chair. american institute of certified public accountants, said the definition of an eligible
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business is challenging because it's not based on the number of employees but on full-time equivalents for companies with a lot of part-timers that's not very transparent. went on to say the eligibility, the way to decide whether you're qualified for this tax credit is so complicated that most small companies can't figure it out. in fact the companies who would benefit the most from the tax credit are the ones least likely to be able to get it because they can't afford to hire a professional accounting firm to figure it out for them. this is from the birmingham business journal. the manager of a consulting group said only 20% of small businesses they deal with even qualify for the credit. many businesses he worked with offered less than 50% and bumping their tkofrpblg -- coverage to meet requirements would cost more than it would save them. these are serious. the companies said the credit is so small it is not enough to change the equation for these
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small businesses to use it. what is the bottom line? the bottom line is two of the things we're being told is going to help small businesses with obamacare are not going to. one is an exchange being relied upon by competition. they are not signing up, folks. the other is this tax credit being deeply underutilized and it is so complicated and small most small businesses are not benefiting from it. yesterday we heard from a real small business, someone who is the epitome of what it means to be a small business in america. his name is larry katz. he owns some restaurants called dot's diner. he cashed his whole life insurance policy, he calculated his credit card availability, he emptied his life savings and with less than $200,000, he opened his first diner. within 12 months, he was not sleeping, down to less than $10,000 in savings. he was up to two options --
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either mortgage his home or declare bankruptcy. that's what he faced, but he made it through, like many small businesses make it through in america. today he owns six diners, he has 85 employees. 65 of them are full time. here's what he offers those employees today, paid holidays, vacation, dental, vision, term life and holidays. he offers that to them right now. but because of how much obamacare is going to cost them, here is what they have to do. he has said i have to unfortunately make the decision to quit offering coverage as soon as the employer mandate kicks in. what he has basically said is that there are employees today in his business in louisiana who have health insurance, who are happy with their health insurance, but because of obamacare are going to lose that health insurance. one of the promises that was made to the american people is if you are happy with your health insurance, you get to
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keep it. i know of at least one business in louisiana where that is not true, and i promise you it's not limited to just this business. in fact, the evidence keeps coming in from all over the country the impact this is going to have. i'll read you some quotes. here's one from texas. that lion and rose pubs and golden chick restaurants, a thousand-plus employees saw their work schedules reduced to part-time shifts. from the "wall street journal," ken adams who has been turning to more part-time workers at his 10 subway shops in michigan to avoid possibly incurring higher health care costs. from the same article in "the wall street journal," rod carstenson, owner of 11 del taco restaurants around denver and colorado began converting his mostly full-time work force into part time to help minimize the health care costs. this is the real-life impact. interestingly, i asked an administration official yesterday, can you tell us whether anyone who has health insurance now and is happy with it will lose it, and her answer
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was i can't answer that. i don't know if she meant she doesn't know or i don't know if she meant i can't tell you, but i can tell you, and small businesses will tell you, mr. president, if you talk to them. the impact this is going to have is not only are people going to lose their health care coverage, they're going to lose their hours. they are going to get moved from full time to part time. here's something. the u.s. chamber of commerce did a poll. 74% of small businesses plan to deduct the cost of obamacare by either firing workers, reducing hours of full-time staff and moving them to part time or not offering any coverage at all. this is the real-world impact of obamacare that it is having on the middle class and on the working class. this is terrible for our country. this is not any longer a republican or democratic issue. this doesn't matter whether you voted for mitt romney or barack obama. this will hurt everybody. there are working class people in america today who have existing insurance, who are happy with their doctor and are going to lose all of that
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because of this experiment. there are people today who are struggling to make it just as it is, and they're going to lose their hours, get forced from full-time work to part-time work. that's the real-life impact of obamacare, mr. president, and that's the impact it's having on the working class and on the middle class. how can we go forward with this? and we have a chance to stop this, and it may be our last best chance, and it comes in september when we have to pass a short-term budget in this chamber. and if we vote for a budget that funds this, this is going to move forward and hurt people terribly, and those who vote for it are going to have to answer for that. to my republican colleagues, i would just say this -- if we're not going to draw a line in the sand on obamacare, we have no lines in the sand. if this issue is not important enough for us to draw a line in the sand, what issue is? this is not a political issue, this is not a partisan issue. today i am giving this speech on
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behalf of the hardworking men and women of this country, working class, middle class, small business owners who are going to be terribly impacted by this law. we cannot just stand by and allow it to go further. we have to do everything we can to keep this from happening to people. and in september, we will have our last best chance to do that. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: and consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, america has a rich history of immigration. we're a nation of immigrants. there is hardly a person in america today who doesn't have an immigrant parent, grandparent or at least someone in their lineage who came to this country from another place. i have told this story many times on the floor. my mother was an immigrant. she came to america -- brought to america at the age of 2 from lithuania. her son now stands in the united states senate. that's my story. that's my family's story, but it's america's story. it can be repeated over and over and over again. we think about the statue of liberty and how it thrills so many people to see it for the
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first time, and then to understand the message of the statue of liberty, to lift my lamp beside that golden door so that people are welcomed to this country, and we knew it from the beginning, it was the key to our future. so many times this issue of immigration is overlooked. it's such a critical part of who we are in america. think back in your own family history, one generation, two or three generations to a person in a foreign land who said one day we're going to america, who undoubtedly was questioned about that decision. you're going to a place you have never been, to a place where they don't speak our language, to a place where they eat different kinds of food. this will be quite a challenge. well, it was. and millions of people made that trip and came to this country facing that challenge, and they made us who we are today. in the d.n.a. of most of us who live in america is some little
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chromosome that said there is a courage to move and a courage to come, and i think it makes us better for it. i think immigration is one of the most important parts of america, and thank goodness immigration continues because it brings to our shores amazing people, new generations of leaders who found companies and work hard so that their children and their children's children will do better. if that is a fact about america and our history of immigration, there is also another fact. there have always been haters, people who hate immigrants. i don't know when it started, maybe after the mayflower landed, the folks got off and said please don't send us any more, but it's been part of american history and part of american political history and part of the united states congress. i was reading a book as we started to debate this question
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of immigration reform entitled "coming to america" by roger daniels, and it's a history of immigration in america, and they speak of a member of the house of representatives in 1924 named albert johnson. he was a republican from washington state -- sorry. i would yield the floor to the senator who is chairing at this moment. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i really appreciate the senator from illinois. i just wanted to let all senators know that we have made tremendous progress on the transportation and housing bill. we intend to make more progress next week. we're going to stay in morning business this afternoon. we have a few issues that we are working out through the weekend. we'll be back at this next week. i want to thank all the members who have worked really hard with us. we will hopefully finish this soon next week. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: if the senator from illinois will yield just further? i, too, want to comment on the
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progress that we have made this week. we have been considering this appropriations bill in regular order. we have actually cleared several amendments today. we have had some votes. we have defeated an amendment to recommit the bill to committee. so that we can proceed to go forward. so senator murray and i will be here on monday ready and open for business. we'll start sequencing amendments. and i hope that members on both sides of the aisle will approach this bill in a cooperative spirit with respect to -- for the rights of senators to offer their amendments and get votes and that we won't see members drawing lines in the sand or deciding that they're going to block action going forward, because i think this vote -- this bill, rather, could be a model of how we should operate.
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thank you, mr. president. i thank the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask consent that the important announcement from senators murray and collins be placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, returning to the issue of immigration -- and i was happy to be interrupted because news of progress in the senate is always worth an interruption -- but i will tell you that we have had a history of debating immigration in congress, and when i read this book on the history of immigration itself, i came up with some interesting quotes." since 1924, albert johnson, the republican from washington state, is chairing the house committee on immigration. this is what he said -- "today, instead of a well-knit home jean us -- homogenous citizenry, we have a body public made up of diverse elements. today descendants from free men bred to the knowledge of freedom
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and practice of self-government under the law, we have a population no small proportion of which is sprung from races that throughout the centuries have known no liberty at all. in other words, congressman johnson said, our capacity to maintain our cherished institutions stands diluted by a stream of alien blood with all its inherited misconceptions, respecting the relationships of the governing power to the governed. it is no wonder, congressman johnson said, therefore, that the myth of the melting pot has been discredited. the united states is our land, he said. we intend to maintain it so. the day of unalloyed welcomes to all people, indiscriminate acceptance of all races has definitely ended." end of quote. that was a statement made by a member of congress in 1924 and you read it today and you think to yourself how could anyone possibly be talking about racial
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purity in the united states of america as he did. it just draws so many terrifying parallels to a debate which happened not many years later in europe over racial purity. but it happened. and it happened in the united states congress. and sadly, that wasn't the end of hatred toward immigration in the united states congress. mr. president, 12 years ago i introduced a bill called the dream act. the dream act was a response to a constituent case in my office. a young woman, a korean woman, in chicago called our office. she had a story to tell. she said that she had brought her daughter at the age of 2 from korea to the united states, to chicago on a visitor's visa. along with her husband. and they envisioned that her husband would open a church, and they looked forward to that day and it never happened. and her husband continued to pray for that miracle for their
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family, but the mother said i had to go to work. the mother went to work in a dry cleaning establishment in chicago, and if you've been to that wonderful city you know the majority of dry cleaning establishments of run by korean families, hardworking people who work 12 hours a day and don't think twice about doing it. this woman went to work but she wasn't making much money. and her little girl as well as the girl's brother and sister grew up in deepest poverty. the little girl tells the story that she used to go to school, the to middle school and high school and wait till the end of the lunch hour when students were throwing away part of the lunch they didn't eat and she'd dig through the waste basket to find food. that's how poor they werp. but something came along that made all the difference in the world. in chicago we have the merit music program. a woman decided 10 or 15 years ago to leave some money and she said use this money to provide musical instruments to children, poor children in
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public schools as well as the lessons they need so they can play the instruments. the merit music program is an amazing success, 100% of the students who are enrolled in that merit music program go to college. 100%. this little girl, this korean immigrant girl, was brought into the program and introduced at the age of 12 to a piano for the first time. she fell in love with the piano. and she started working and practicing on it. she'd stay at the merit music program headquarters late into the night. they gave her a key because it was warm and she wanted to practice her piano. she became such an accomplished pianist by the time she was in high school she was accepted to to the juilliard school of music and manhattan conservatory of music. amazing for this poor korean girl. when she applied filling out the application she came to the line that said nationality and citizenship and she turned to her mother and said what do i
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put? her mom said we brought you here at the age of 2 and never filed any papers. mom said let's call senator durbin. so they called our office and we dhekd chekd on the law and the law in the united states is very clear and very cruel. the law in the united states said that literal lil girl had to leave this country for 10 years and apply to come back. ten years. she had brought here at the age of 2. she was only 17 or 18 at the time. that's when i decided to introduce the dream act and the dream act said if you were brought here as a child to the united states, if you complete high school, if you have no criminal record of any concern and you're prepared to either enlist in our military or finish at least two years of college, we'll put you on a path to becoming a citizens of the united states of america. that was the dream act. introduced 12 years ago, called on the floor many different times for passage. it finally passed just a few weeks ago as part of
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comprehensive immigration reform. i might tell you the end of the story about this young girl. she didn't qualify for any financial assistance because she was undocumented. two families in chicago, one woman who is an amazing friend of mine named joan harris said they'd pay for her education. swheept to the meantd conservatory of music, she excelled in the piano, she played in carnegie hall, she married an american jazz musician and became a citizen of the united states and now she is working on her ph.d. in music. she just sent me her tape for her ph.d. and she is amazing. teresa lee is her name. she is the first dreamer. it's because of her i come to the floor today. you see, mr. president, just yesterday it was disclosed that a member of the house of representatives, congressman stephen king of iowa, spoke to the issue of the dreamers. i don't know how many dreamers,
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students who would qualify for the dream act, that congressman king has met. i have met hundreds of them. they are amazing. incredible. living their entire life in the united states undocumented, fearing deportation any minute of any day, wondering what tomorrow will bring. the gentleman up in the classrooms of america and pledging allegiance to the only flag they have ever known, singing the only national anthem they know and being told by so many people don't belong here, you're not part of this country. they are completely conflicted and worried and uncertainty about their future. and they are nothing short of amazing. these young people have done things with their lives which just are incredible. mesh the valedictorians of their classes in many case perks gone on to college and paid for it out of their pocket in many cases. i've come to the floor on 54 different occasions with color photos of these dreamers from all over the united states.
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when they gave us the permission to disclose their identity and told their stories and every time i've told that story about that dreamer, someone has stopped me in the hall and said that's an amazing story about this young person who just wants to be part of the the united states and its future. so it was troubling yesterday to pick up and read the quotes from stephen king, who is a congressman from iowa. mr. king is new comer when it comes to criticizing immigration. he introduced a bill three or four weeks ago in the house of representatives which would have removed all the federal funds that are being used now to spare these dreamers from deportation in the united states. in other words, the president has issued a executive order so the young people eligible for the dream act can stay, he wanted to remove all the funds so they'd have to be deported immediately. he called that for a vote. it passed in the u.s. house of representatives, just a few
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weeks ago. overwhelmingly supported by his republican side of the aisle. so stephen king has a record of opposing immigration and doing it in a very forceful way. but they found a quote which he'd made, a statement he had made on the issue of the dreamers, and that's why i come to the floor today. in an interview with radio iowa, mr. king said yesterday it seems as though i have a few critics out there. but those advocating for the dream act try to make it about valedictorians. i don't disagree there are dreamers that are valedictorians but it also would legalize those smuggling drugs into the united states. in his original comments, congressman king of iowa said -- quote -- "for everyone who is a valedictorian there is another 100 out there who weigh 130
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pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert" -- end of quote. in his interview tuesday evening, congressman king doubled down on those comments according to "the washington post" saying -- quote -- "we have people that are mules, they're drug mules, they're hauling drawings drugs across the border and you can tell by their physical characteristics what they've been doing for months" -- end of quote. mr. president, if you've going to be part of this political business you better have a pretty tough spine. and a pretty hard shell. because people throw criticism around all the time. and if you cant take it, this ain't beanbag, do something else. but i deeply resent what was said by congressman king about these dreamers. it is totally unfair. it's mean, and it's hateful. don't take my word for it. take the words of the republican leaders who responded to
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mr. king. house speaker john boehner commenting on congressman king's comments called them -- quote -- "wrong and hateful." that's from speaker boehner. house majority leader he can cantor said they were -- quote -- "inexcusable" -- end of quote. during a house judiciary committee hearing tuesday, representative joseph garcia described king's words as -- quote -- "beneath the dignity of this body." representative raul labrador, republican of idaho who has been heavily involved in immigration reform, expressed hope wednesday that king regretted his remarks. "there's nobody in the conference who would say such a thing and i hope that he if he thought about it wouldn't say such a thing again close quote, labrador said. it is heartening to know that members of exphan king's own party, republicans,mr. have stated unequivocally how awful his statement was. it troubles me and it's
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heartbreaking to think that these dreamers, these young people who are simply asking for a chance to be part of the united states, would be characterized as dope smugglers and drug smugglers. obviously congressman king's never read the dream act because if you've ever been convicted of a crime, country be approved through the dream act for citizenship. not a serious crime. that's part of the law. he should know better. but i'm not sure that he cares. i'm glad that members of his own party have stepped up and branded these comments for what they are. and what i have to say to him is take a moment away from the media, meet some of these dreamers and hear their stories. hear what they've been through and hear about what they want to do with their lives for the united states of america's future and to the dreamers themselves, this isn't the first criticism they've run into. they've taken a lot. they're courageous young men and women. when i started this trek, this
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12-year trek on the dream act, i used to give speeches in chicago about the bill and there would be audiences full of hispanics usually, nothing much would be said and i'd go out to my car afterwards in the darkness there would be a couple students waiting by the car. they'd look both waig wairs to make sure no one was around and say senator, we're dreamers. we're counting on you to give us a chance. over the years, these young people who waited to greet me in the darkness when no one was around have now stepped up. they're identifying who they are so america knows what's at stake. and when you meet the dreamers you will realize how awful and wrong these statements are by congressman king. there will always be critics of immigration in america. it's part of our national tradition. but i do believe the vast majority of americans are fair people. they are people who believe in justice. they do not believe that a
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child, a child should be held responsible for any wrongdoing by their parent. if their parent brought broth them to the united states as a baby, they have had no voice in that decision. why should they be penalized for that decision? they should be given their own chance to become part of this nation's future. i'll close by saying that maybe teresa lee wasn't the first dreamer in my life, my mother was brought here at the age of 2, and certainly didn't have much of a voice in the decision to come to america. but thank goodness her mother and father decided to make that trip and that my grinders --, grandparents located in illinois and gave me a chance to grow up in a great place with a great story. that's my story and america's story. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama.
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mr. sessions: senator durbin is such an eloquent and champion for righting injustice and i'm always impressed with him and i do agree that the american people are good and decent people. they want the right thing in immigration, part of that is a lawful system of immigration and that serves the national interest of our country. we disagree how to get there sometimes but you can't dispute the passion and -- of senator durbin. mr. president, i wanted to share some thoughts about the president's tour today and the last couple of days talking about jobs. well, i've got to say first and foremost, this country is not doing well economically. it's just not. you hear the stock market is up and people try to translate that into substantial progress in the
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economy, but it's just not there, particularly with jobs, the fourth quarter of last year our g.d.p. growth was .4%. it was by the time the first half of this year concludes, we're not going to have 2% growth over that period. and you're not going to create jobs unless you have economic growth. and we're not seeing it. and wages are down. wages have declined since 1999 for working americans by virtually any calculation. wages have been declining. unemployment is up. the number of people working today is two million fewer than in 2007. we have two million fewer people working today than in 2007. and we have fewer people working i believe since 2000. this is the slowest economic
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recovery since the recession, since the great depression. there's no doubt about that. but we have done all kinds of extraordinary things. we've had the biggest stimulus, all borrowed, spent, they're going to stimulate the economy and create predictive growth. has it produced real growth? or is it just a sugar high, as one of the wall street gurus referred to it? it appears quite clear, it's the sugar type high. and we have more and more plans from our leadership here in the senate and it's basically tax and spend. so the american people are hurting, they're not getting -- the wages are falling and so forth, they have unemployment problems, and so we promised to tax more and we're going to spread more money around. and borrow more.
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and that this is somehow going to put us on a sound path to prosperity, job growth, wage increases, what is what we need. please note these facts. and i don't mind the president talking about the issue. i know he's using the word " middle class." well he should. working class, middle class, struggling americans. somebody needs to be thinking about them. but you also have to have policies, and a speech is not a policy. a speech is not tangible that creates growth, jobs, prosperity and increased wages. g.d.p. growth last quarter was only 1.8% and has averaged at or under 2% since the end of the recession in 2009. there's a major corporation,
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c.e.o., which is common throughout the business, but he just said, quite frankly, we're not hiring anybody if the g.d.p. growth in america's not over 2%. we haven't had 2% growth, we've hardly had it since 2009. he actually is not filling vacancies still, even though we have a modest growth and people tried to oversell that. i'm just saying the economy is struggling, it's not growing rapidly enough to create jobs and we have record unemployment. the "wall street journal" panel of economic experts expects slow growth for the rest of this year at 2% or less. they've revised their forecast down. the president, the congressional budget office just a year or so ago were predicting higher numbers than this and they're not coming in. now they're revising downward
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what they expect the economy to do in the second half of the year. we need more than a speech, in my opinion. after six years, since the beginning of the recession, we still have not created as many jobs as existed in december of 2007. americans are working 5 billion fewer hours than in 2007. think about that. 5 billion fewer hours than in 2007. and some say, well, our immigration plan -- recalls my attention to it -- is somehow going to fix that. we bring in more workers and everybody's going to get pay raises and -- and unemployment's going to be reduced. but that's not what the congressional budget office told us, at a time that we're struggling to find jobs for american workers, many of them themselves unemployed are immigrants to the country,
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african-americans, poor people struggling to get by. and you continue to bring in a larger flow of -- of labor than the country can absorb. as mr. peter kersenaw, at the u.s. commission on civil rights, says, we don't have a shortage -- we don't have a shortage of workers in america. we have an excess of workers in america. we've got more workers than we've got jobs. americans are -- and the fastest growing type of work today is part-time employment. over 320,000 part-time jobs were created last month compared to 195,000 full-time jobs. they're counting these part-time employment jobs as employment. but it's not good.
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it's better than nothing, i suppose, but we're having a surge of part-time employment driven in large measure by the president's health care policies. it just is. everybody knows that. new unemployment claims came out this week, are up. in other words, the number of people who are filing for unemployment insurance, it's gone up. i hate to say. 7,000 more in july to 343,000. the average net worth of american households -- get this -- someone said recently, net worth was back to nearly what it was, and that was something we'd heard based on, i guess, the stock market primarily, and -- but another analysis looked at it and said, well, what about the share of the debt of america that's increased dramatically since the
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american -- since 2007? well, once you calculate the debt that all of us owe as american citizens to the total debt of america, their household net worth is 60% lower than it was in 2007. so i guess what i would say, mr. president, is it's time for this nation to begin a serious discussion about what it is that's causing our economy to slide and what it is we can do realistically to create jobs, growth, higher wages and so forth. one of the things you should do is not bring in more labor than we have jobs for. that's pretty simple to me. one of the things we should do is try to bring down the cost of energy, not increase the cost of energy. one of the things we should do is eliminate the unnecessary
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regulation as that drive up costs and produce nothing but a burden in exchange. we need a tax system that favors growth. we need to defend on the world stage the legitimate interest of america and our working people. we've not effectively fought back against unfair trade, and we can do a better job of that. there are just lots of things we can do that don't revolve around taxing more, borrowing more and spending cutsinspendingmorspend. we have a policy on the floor that just busts the budget wide open right now. we agreed to these limits two years ago. senator shelby, the ranking member on the senate budget committee, he stood firm for the levels that we've agreed to. it's not easy but we agreed to it.
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but oh, no, the majority's got to spend more than the amount that's currently limited by law. so i guess what i would say, mr. president, is that president obama is correct to at least talk about this issue. but we need to do more than talk. and about all we're hearing when the president talks is plans to invest more, to spend more, and to tax more and to borrow more. that will not change the debt course of america. we need real policies that put us on a path to prosperity, that protect the american worker from unfair foreign competition, from excessive labor brought into the country and too much energy costs, too high on energy costs. and a lot of other things that we can do that would promote prosperity in the country. i thank the chair and would yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from pam bam. -- the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. shelby: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, as we all know, we have a jobs crisis in ameri america. high unemployment and weak economic growth have festered for nearly five years. american families are increasingly dependent upon government and businesses are being suffocated by it all over this country. i believe, mr. president, that our ability to emerge from this job crisis stronger than before depends upon government performing its proper role in the economy. in my view, that role is to establish the conditions for job creation and economic growth in the private sector. through stable fiscal policy, a
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simplified tax code, and streamlined regulation, the government can create an economic environment conducive to risk taking and innovation that lead to real job creation in this country. unfortunately, the same toxic combination of government overreach and inaction that has failed to produce a jobs recovery in this country thus far also threatens to prolong the job crisis i believe for years to come. now, mr. president, we learn in the last few days that president obama is planning a p.r. blitz to gloss over his failed economic agenda. over a series of speeches he will give around the country, he said he will discuss his vision for the future, but he will offer nothing new. according to the "new york times," his jobs plan is --
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quote -- "largely repackaged economic proposals that the president has offered for year years." mr. president, we need a fresh, free market approach to job creation. stale obama policy leftovers just won't cut it. it's not new ideas. it's not a new beginning. the current situation, mr. president, i will preface my remarks here on the fiscal ta tax -- fiscal, tax, regulatory, and monetary policy challenges we face in this country with a more detailed description of the current macroeconomic conditio conditions, starting with job numbers. the official unemployment rate, mr. president, in the u.s. is 7.6%. that makes 54 straight months of unemployment above 7.5%.
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however, mr. president, as grim as those figures are, they do not tell the full story. the bureau of labor statistics reports that the real -- the real -- unemployment rate in this country, known as u-6, is 14.3% unemployment. u-6 includes those who are unemployed, those who want to work but have stopped searching for a job, and those working part-time because they cannot find full-time work. mr. president, 22.6 million americans fall under this category that i've just described. that's the real unemployment and that's sad. the real unemployment rate was 14.2% when president obama took office in january of 2009. it peaked at 17.1% in late 2009
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and early 2010 but has not fallen below 13.8% during his time in office. mr. president, by all measures, this has been a jobless presidency thus far. and digging further into the numbers reveals more troubling trends. the number of people working part time because their hours were cut back or because they cannot full -- find full-time work increased by 322,000 people last month to 8.2 million people in this country. the percentage of the unemployed who have been without work for 27 weeks, mr. president, are more, also remains dangerously high at 36.7%. an analysis by the hamilton project in february of this year found that we will not get back
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to full employment for another ten years based on recent job creation numbers. meanwhile, economic growth remains sluggish. the most recent figures from the bureau of economic analysis indicate that the u.s. real gross domestic product, g.d.p., grew at a tepid 1.8% annual rate in the first quarter of 2013, this year. average annual g.d.p. growth was just over 0.8% over president obama's first term in office, the full four years. mr. president, we're experiencing the weakest economic recovery since the great depression and as a consequence, government dependency in this country is on the rise. under president obama, the number of americans on food stamps has increased by 47%

U.S. Senate
CSPAN July 25, 2013 12:00pm-5:01pm EDT


TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 33, Mrs. Murray 20, United States 19, Washington 18, Maryland 16, Virginia 12, Mr. Perez 11, Madam 11, Mr. Murphy 9, U.s. 9, Toomey 8, Chicago 6, Collins 6, Ms. Collins 6, Nasa 5, Murray 5, Mr. Durbin 5, Pennsylvania 5, Illinois 5, Iowa 4
Network CSPAN
Duration 05:01:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 17
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

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on 7/25/2013